CRICKET SIXES is played on a standard cricket pitch which is 22 yards long with stumps (wickets) at each end. Some distance in front of each wicket there is a line marked across the pitch called the crease, from where the batsman stands when facing the bowler and the bowler must deliver the ball from behind this line when bowling from the other end of the pitch. The field is the area surrounding the pitch and the extremity is marked by a rope and known as the boundary.
Sixes means six players per team. The team making the most runs is the winning team. A run is made when a batsman (striker) hits the ball as bowled by the bowler (pitcher) and then runs the length of the wicket for one run before a fielder retrieves the ball and throws it into either of the wickets. Batting is done in pairs one at each end of the pitch and both batsmen must run equivalent runs. Multiple runs can be scored:
- From quick up and back running the full length of the pitch between the wickets until the ball is retrieved; or
- Hitting the ball across the boundary rope which will score four runs; or
- A clean hit over the boundary rope on the fly with the ball not hitting the ground will score six runs.
Additional runs can be scored from bowlers errors:
- A ball is bowled outside the designated area around the wicket, the ball will be called wide and two runs added to the score and the ball must be re-bowled,
- A no-ball is another bowler error and again two runs are added to the score and the ball must be re-bowled. A no-ball is called when bowler over steps the mark (crease) from where the ball must be delivered or if a ball when delivered goes over the batsman’s head either on the full or if it bounced. Extra runs can be scored off this no- ball by the batsman if it is hit.
- Bowling is an art foreign to people who have never played the game called cricket. The ball is bowled in a straight arm action and delivered from over the head in a semi windmill action, as opposed to a throwing action with a bent arm as used when a fielder retrieves a ball and returns it to the bowler from the field. The ball must be delivered into a designated area around the wicket so the batsman has a fair opportunity to strike the ball.
Each player in the team must bowl one over of six fair balls, except the player who keeps wicket (catcher), Therefore each team will bowl five overs of six fair balls and the opposition will attempt to score as many runs as possible from those balls. Overs are bowled alternatively from each end of the pitch. The players not bowling or wicketkeeping are called fielders, and try to prevent the batsmen from scoring runs by quick retrieval of the ball when it is struck into the field.
A batsman is "out", that is his innings (time at the crease) is finished, if:
- A struck ball is caught by any fielder on the fly;
- The ball delivered by the bowler hits the wicket (three upright pegs);
- The bowled ball hit his legs and thus prevents the ball from hitting the wicket;
- He doesn't return to crease (a line marked on the pitch near the wicket) before the ball hits the wicket as retrieved from the field when he is attempting to make runs;
- He can be stumped off a bowled ball that is not struck and he is not within his crease and the wicketkeeper breaks the wicket with the ball.
- There are two batsmen batting at all times and when a batsman is out, he will be replaced by a following team man.
In the "Sixes" a batsman must retire from batting when he has scored 30 runs. However to confuse all, if when his score is below 30 runs and he strikes a 4 or 6 and his score will then exceed 30 runs that total will be counted as fair. However if all his team has been dismissed (that is "out") a retired batsman can return to bat and continue until all the bowlers have completed their overs and all the runs scored will count or until he is out. Good luck in unraveling the game and enjoy watching a fascinating sport.